Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating
Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)
a Audio EnthusiastDate Reviewed:
July 26, 2009Bottom Line:
When AOC first came out with last years L32W861 32? , 720p HDTV . There weren’t any other HDTV’s in that price range that came close to its picture quality. It matched up well against more expensive 32?,720p LCD HDTVs . However as the LCD prices dropped other companies started coming out with HDTV’s that offered more in the way of features. With this new 32? HDTV 720p model AOC not only improves on picture quality. But it now offers advanced new features usually found only in the higher priced HDTVs. It does all this while keeping the same low retail price of $450.00.What I really like about AOC, is they don’t put out several different 32? models in various price ranges. They put all thier efforts into making one quality product.
This HDTV is hooked up using an HDMI cable to a cable box. Because HDMI is a digital interface, it provides the best quality video. Among the important new features are there are now two types of auto picture control. Dynamic Picture Control, which automatically adjusts the backlight and the Adaptive Contrast Control which adjusts the Gamma functions to produce greater brightness. The best improvement is the new higher Dynamic Contrast Ratio.
Your basic controls (Brightness/Contrast/Color/Sharpness and Backlight) now all have a much increased range. They go from 0 to + 100. Except for backlight which goes from 0 to + 30. The backlight control has a big effect on a LCD HTDV’s picture. So the increased range really helps to improve the picture. They also added Audio and Video presets which were noticeably lacking from their previous model. For Video they added Vivid, Standard, PWR (Power Save), Theater, Sport, and Custom preset modes. For the Audio the presets there are Standard, Movie, News, and Custom. Also new for the audio is AVL which automatically keeps the volume at one consistent level..In the Movie mode sound quality is improved. However, the overall sound quality in all other modes could still use some improving.
This model still has the same three color temperature modes. (Normal/Warm/Cool). I prefer the “cool” mode which appears to give a brighter and more colorful picture and tends to enhance the color Blue. While Warm enhances the color Green. Normal is the default setting. The AOC L32W961 also offers four levels of digital video noise reduction. Low, Mid, High and Off. The default setting is Mid. All of which work much better than the previous models video noise reduction settings. I would only recommend the high setting for use with a real grainy video.
The AOC L32W961 has a much wider viewing angle than the previous model. Even if their specifications don’t prove that. You could sit just about anywhere in the room and not have to use the swivel base to turn the TV towards you. Also improved is the new response time. This AOC now has a very fast response time of 6.5ms. Which helps to eliminate any blurring when you are watching movies with fast motion scenes or sporting events. A unpublicized new feature is that there is no longer a delay when it switches from channels in different formats. In the previous AOC model when switching from a 1080i source to a 720p source there was a delay of a few seconds. Now source switching is almost instantaneous. CBS & NBC broadcast in 1080i format, while FOX & ABC broadcast in the 720p format. So you want a HDTV with as little format switching delay as possible. Of course there are your usual LCD HDTV Aspect Ratio modes. Each manufacturer likes to give them their own unique names. In AOC’s case they are simply called, Auto, Normal, Zoom, Wide, and Cinema mode. The standard 16×9 aspect ratio is very accurate and shows very little overscan. LCD HDTVs must overscan the image so that older programming will be framed as intended to be viewed.
The menu interface to get to all these controls has gotten a total makeover. It looks great and now has a transparency control. Setting this on 10 makes the menu totally see-through. So you could make all your adjustments without having the menu interfere with the TV picture. The new remote controls design is well thought out and very comfortable to use. It includes a menu naviagating control, and a source button which brings up a list of all the inputs. It highights in bright orange the current active input. The remote also has individual buttons for every input source. Such as HDMI , Component, Composite, PC. It also has buttons for the audio & video preset modes.
As for the input jacks, AOC has added a third HDMI input along with an additional Component Video input The unit will accept a 1080p source, but of course it will down convert it to 1080i or 720p. Among the other input jacks are an S-Video and a composite video. It also has a headphone jack and a set of audio output jacks to connect the TV to your stereo receiver. .There is a VGA Input for using it as a PC Monitor.
So you’re probably wondering with all these new features, how the picture looks. Well I’m happy to say it has also seen a big improvement. Most likely as a result from the higher Dynamic Contrast Ratio and the adaptive picture control. Watching a highly contrasted movie like “No Country for Old Men” was a pleasure. All the details in the shadowy night scenes were brought out with exquisite and extensive detail. The color accuracy is nearly perfect.
In the standard mode setting all controls are set to the halfway mark of +50 and makes for a very neutral picture. PWR save mode makes the picture fairly dark and is best for a very bright room. In the “vivid” picture setting mode you get an extremely bright , colorful, and sharp picture. It may be overly bright and sharp for some viewers. Which is why the default “mid” noise reduction setting automatically turns on. It seems to make the picture a bit soft. Which is why I don’t really care for mid being the default setting. Low would have been a better choice as the default. What you might want to do is keep all the suggested settings of the vivid mode, then turn off the video noise reduction. Now the setting turns to “custom” and you still have all the benefits of the “vivid” mode. Theater mode helps improve contrast for a dark movie. In Sports mode ball games have a brighter and well detailed picture. In some HDTV’s the Sports mode increases the response mode to help elimnate blurring. It’s not mentioned in the manual. So just by viewing a ball game I am unable to tell whether that’s the case with this TV. Like the previous model this AOC HDTV earns a Energy Star logo. It uses even less energy than any of thier previous models.
Most likely you will have to spend much more for a TV that has the picture quality and features of the AOC-L32W961. You will also proabably have to buy your HDTV from a store with a limited or no return/no refund policy. When you buy the AOC from Radio Shack or Target you get a 30 day no hassle return policy. The AOC brand, is the worlds largest display manufacturer and are a leading brand in Europe. They are continuing to make major inroads into the American market. Here in the U.S.A they are sold almost exclusively by Radio Shack and Target.
The bottom line is this, when you shop for an HDTV LCD television, remember that the product name should not be your sole consideration.When all things are considered ,if you purchase the new AOC L32W961 you may just end up saving a fair amount of money for a better functioning product. Tech Support is excellent by email. AOC also has a group on Facebook & Twitter if you need to contact them.
Used product for: 1 to 3 months
Duration Product Used: Audio Enthusiast
Product model year: 2009
Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)
Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating